Propaganda: Should the CIA bomb the USA?
Once the United States and the Soviet Union each possessed nuclear weapons, a "hot war" with nuclear weapons was unthinkable. For the contest between democracy and communism to be fought for the hearts and minds of humankind, some alternative means were needed. And that brings us to Duncan Whites new book: Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War, Harper Collins, (2019).
Literature as a weapon of war? Yes, both sides wove literature into their propaganda campaigns. For example, between February and May of 1955, the CIA -- back then the CIA engaged in espionage and propaganda, rather than trying to overturn the outcome of U.S. elections -- launched thousands of balloons into the skies over communist-controlled Poland, each balloon carrying dozens of copies of the Polish version of Animal Farm, George Orwells classic allegorical put down of communism. Dozens of paper-thin copies were packed into each balloon.
And who were the targets of this seemingly bizarre scheme? Certainly not the Soviet or Polish elite; but rather, the Polish workers in the fields, in the coal mines, and in the shipyards.
And why Poland? Because the Eisenhower Administration thought the first of the Soviet-satellite nations that would attempt to break free would be Poland. By 1980, led by labor activist, Lech Walesa, Poland was the first of the Soviet-satellites to begin to break free.
Can we say it was the CIAs literature bombing of Poland that was the sole reason for the Polish revolution? Of course, not. But it had to be helpful.
George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Blair, started his literary career as a committed socialist. More than just a British "parlor pink," in 1936, Orwell went to Spain to fight in the trenches, trying to help Spains socialist government survive against the onslaught led by the Hitler- and Mussolini-supported General Francisco Franco Bahamonde.
But, much to Orwells dismay, Stalin was able to replace Spains Fabian (no, not the teenage heart-throb) Socialist government with an all-out communist totalitarian regime. After watching communist brutality at close range, Orwell had one of those Damascus Road conversions. Orwell returned to England. In 1945, he published Animal Farm. Ten years later, Animal Farm was being used by the CIA was a weapon in the information war.
According to media accounts, many of Americas youth are thinking that Socialism might be a better alternative to the way we are doing things now. Actually, who can blame those living with their parents, saddled with federal student-loan debt for often unmerited high tuition and earning college degrees for which there is little need, meaning no J.O.B.s, no money to marry, no way to start a family? Plus, with the radicals of the 1960s and their offspring teaching the dark side of Western Civilization, rather than its rejection of slavery, and raising the standards of living for millions to historic heights, who can blame them?
So, assuming we can get the CIA to stop interfering in U.S. elections, we need to get the CIA to use the more modern drones instead of balloons and start bombing every college campus with copies of Animal Farm. And, while the CIA is at it, throw in a few copies of 1984.
©2019. William Hamilton.
William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton is the author of Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare, McFarland Books, (2019). For pre-publication orders: Toll free: (800) 253-2187 "Central View," can also be seen at: www.central-view.com.